Sharjah, September 28 (Omnisport) – Rajasthan Royals pulled off the highest run chase in the history of the Indian Premier League against Kings XI Punjab, overshadowing a superb century from Mayank Agarwal.
Steve Smith, Sanju Samson and Rahul Tewatia all made key contributions with the bat as the Royals pulled off a stunning four-wicket triumph to make it two from two in the early stages of the 2020 season.
Agarwal shared in an opening stand worth 183 with in-form skipper KL Rahul as he made a magnificent 106, helping Kings XI post 223-2 after being put into bat.
Nicholas Pooran produced a late cameo, making 25 from just eight deliveries, though his most notable contribution came later in the field with a gravity-defying stop in the deep.
Rajasthan lost Jos Buttler early in their reply, yet captain Smith made 50 in a hurry to make sure his team remained up with the required rate.
Samson top-scored with 85 from just 42 deliveries but, after he became the first of three wickets for seamer Mohammed Shami, Tewatia took over.
The left-hander vindicated his unexpected promotion up the order, overcoming a sluggish start to blast his team towards their target. Sheldon Cottrell suffered the most, taken for five sixes in an over that cost 30.
Jofra Archer smashed two maximums to finish 13 not out before fellow England international Tom Curran delivered the winning blow, sending his first ball to the boundary midway through the last over.
OPENERS CAUSE ROYAL ISSUES
Having made 132 not out against Bangalore Royal Challengers last time, right-hander Rahul was again in the runs for Kings XI.
The India batsman made 69 from 54 deliveries but played second fiddle to opening partner Agarwal, who hit seven sixes and 10 fours to reach three figures from just 49 deliveries.
Their partnership is the third-highest for the first wicket in the competition, while this was Agarwal’s maiden IPL century.
POORAN TAKES OFF
Samson appeared to have hit Murugan Ashwin for six when he launched the spinner deep to midwicket in the eighth over of the Royals’ innings.
However, Pooran had other ideas. Leaping backwards beyond the boundary, he managed to catch the ball before flicking it back into play prior to him hitting the ground, timing the release to perfection.
COTTRELL GOES THE DISTANCE
Tewatia, whose solitary over with the ball went for 19 runs, had 17 to his name from 23 balls at one stage. Then, with 51 required from the final three overs, everything changed – most notably his strike-rate.
He certainly took a liking to Cottrell’s bowling, turning what appeared to be a tall order into a straightforward equation.
A solitary dot ball spared the left-armer completing the unwanted full set of sixes in the over, but the sudden onslaught turned the game at a crucial stage.